Weekly roundup #6

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Hello loves, and welcome to another Weekly Roundup. This week has been a fairly quiet one but there has been me-time aplenty, so I have lots of lovely highlights to share with you.


:: As I mentioned, there has been lots of me-time this week, and it's been so lovely having the freedom to just take some time out and spend it however you please, be that by going out or staying in, by being productive or by being lazy. This week it's been all about alternating between afternoons in town perusing the shops and days at home in comfy clothes, sticking Friends on the TV and being on the whole fairly unproductive, bar the odd load of laundry. How do you like to spend your me-time?

:: The weather has been somewhat colder this week, and although for once I had actually been enjoying the sunshine, the chance to bundle up in a scarf and cosy up in a coffee shop is always welcome. I've been trying to visit independent places more than chains recently, and I have to say it's been by far for the better. The coffee may be a little more pricey and you may not be able to get the usual frapps, syrups etc, but if you appreciate good coffee, it's well worth it. Plus, you get to support a  small business!

:: Finding my confidence and saying yes to more things has been a huge highlight for me these past few weeks. This isn't something I've ever gone into much depth about on here and I intend to keep it that way, but for a while after leaving high school I struggled with anxiety and as a result became used to saying no to things and passing up opportunities, and although now the anxiety is for the most part gone and all the more manageable, I still tend to fall back on those habits of turning down anything remotely out of my comfort zone. However, I came to the conclusion that that's not the person I want to be, and that I don't want to look back ten years from now and wish I had taken more chances, so now I'm in the process of learning to say 'yes' more often, and so far it has been  so incredibly liberating and confidence-boosting.


:: Since payday was at the start of the week, I popped out on Wednesday for an afternoon of shopping and a solo coffee date. I stocked up on snacks and health foods (hello kale chips!) and picked up a new striped top (because a girl can never have too many, right?), but I think my favourite purchase might just be How To Be Parisian. I first heard of the book on Instagram quite some time ago and have seen it pop up several times since, but after actually getting my hands on a copy in-store and having a flick through, I knew I wanted a copy of my own. The book is written with a real sense of wit, is full of beautiful images, and covers everything from first dates, to 'Parisian snobbism', to spending money, and there are even a few delicious-sounding recipes to boot. It's the sort of book you can keep on a shelf or coffee table and reach for time and time again when you feel the need for an injection of humour, beauty and inspiration, or when you want to feel just that little bit more chic and sophisticated.

:: The cooler temperatures also mean my beloved cinnamon candle has made a return and added a delightful warmth and homeliness to our bedroom. However, I know temperatures will pick up again soon, so if anyone has any recommendations for Spring/Summer candles, please do let me know!

:: The baby succulent I picked up on Friday afternoon to replace my baby cactus which sadly came to an end last week. I've been wanting a succulent for quite some time but never really knew where to look, but after asking a couple of people I had a list of places to try, and now I have my very own succulent!

:: On a chilly Saturday afternoon I popped into M&S in search of chocolate, and ended up leaving with a Golden Amber candle and a bottle of their Neroli Lime & Basil essential oil. The candle has quite a subtle, warm scent while the Neroli Lime essential oil is quite clean and bright and a little bit herbal, and the two actually pair quite well together.


:: I adored the outfit Paulien was wearing in her most recent post. This girl always nails effortless style, and this ensemble was no exception; a black jumpsuit and slouchy nude cardigan paired with simple accessories and a bold pair of shoes for an understated, casual look - perfect!

:: As a big organisation lover, Lauren's post on how to stay organised brought me a lot of joy. In this post, she shares a handful of really useful tips to help you stay organised without overwhelming yourself, so whether you're already an avid planner and list-maker or you struggle to know your plans from one day to the next, this post could be really helpful for you.

:: This week Rebecca shared some of her favourite things to do at the weekend, and her post made my feel really homely and calm; all of the things she mentioned are such simple, beautiful things that you can take your time with and really enjoy, and all in all they make for a perfect weekend.

:: Ever since I discovered Ella's blog I've been a huge fan, and I absolutely love her film photography posts. After a recent trip to California, this week Ella shared the photographs she captured during the trip, and they're all so gorgeous.

I hope you've all had a lovely week (despite the dreary weather) - what have your highlights been?



On not having it all figured out

Saturday, 2 May 2015

I, like many others, feel this enormous pressure to have my life figured out. I need to know my career plans, how I'm going to achieve those plans, who I am, where I want to be in ten, twenty, thirty years, and I need to be acting on all of those things, now.

Sounds like a lot doesn't it? But so many of us, particularly those in their late teens and early twenties, feel this pressure. Ironically, though, much of the time we don't seem to realise that everyone around us feels it, too. Instead, because we see many of those people working or going to university or going on internships, we feel as though they have it all figured out. We think they know exactly who they are, what they want to do and where they're going, but in reality, although they may have some idea, nine times out of ten they're as unsure as you are, or at least not far off. Just because someone is pursuing a particular career or life path doesn't mean they're completely certain it's what they want; it may well just be that that is the thing they are most drawn to, so rather than waiting for something they are one hundred percent sure on, they've decided to follow that path and let their aspirations expand and evolve along the way, with the hope that they will stay within a similar field.

The truth is, very few of us have it all figured out at once, let alone at a young age. Very often I put this pressure on myself to have it all sussed, but recently I've been stepping back and looking at my life more objectively, as though it were someone else's, and the one big realisation I've had? I'm still so young. With my 19th birthday just around the corner I am barely an adult, yet I expect to know  and understand myself as fully as someone who has been on this earth much longer might, although even someone who has been here fifty years or more still might not know every aspect of themselves; we are constantly growing and developing, and it's impossible to be able to know and predict ourselves and our lives down to a T.

So why do we put this pressure on ourselves? Granted, in some situations pressure can push you to work harder, faster, better, but this is not one of those situations. Rather, when faced with this issue, a gentle approach with a focus on allowing yourself to grow and change is much more effective, and  it can make the whole thing a lot easier on you. For me at least, all pressure does in this instance is cause me to overthink my wants and dreams, and most decisions I make with regard to my future I end up questioning, wondering whether it's really what I want and if in ten years time I'll feel it was the right decision. With a bit of perspective, this seems ludicrous. How can we really expect ourselves to know which decisions will turn out to be the right ones ten years down the line? And how can we expect ourselves not to change? We are shaped by so many factors, from our experiences to our environment, even our relationships, and these things will inevitably alter the way we think and the things we want. So, why do we hold this inevitability against ourselves? Why do we grow frustrated or even angry at ourselves for this change?

Instead of this intolerance, we should be comfortable enough in these inevitable changes and shifts within ourselves that we can say, 'Okay, so this is who I am now, this is what I want now. I may not be this person tomorrow and I may want something different, but right now this is all I know and that's okay', just as we should be able to say 'I don't know who, where or what I want to be in ten year's time, but I don't need to'. That's not to say we shouldn't have dreams or aspirations, because they can give us direction and something to strive for, but at the same time if we don't know what they are, we should be forgiving and understanding towards ourselves for that and not pile on this crippling pressure; after all, if it were one of your friends feeling this way, the last thing you would do is say to them day after day 'But you should know what you want to do, everyone else around you does, so why don't you?', so why do that to yourself?

At the end of the day, we have our entire lives to discover ourselves, our passions, our wants and desires, so there's no need or reason to put pressure on ourselves to know it all; just go with what you know now, and let the rest come naturally.



Weekly roundup #5

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Okay, so when I say 'weekly roundup', this is actually closer to a monthly roundup. After experiencing a bit of writer's block and general feelings of having a little too much on my plate, I took a couple of weeks off blogging to regroup and find my creative flow again, and now I'm back feeling somewhat refreshed and inspired. So, to get ourselves reacquainted, here's a roundup of what's been going on since we last caught up!


:: Spending some time visiting family. Towards the middle of the month I had a few days off work, so I decided to take the opportunity to go and visit my parents. On the Monday I woke up very early to catch a train to Swindon to visit my dad and step-mum. The weather was so beautiful with barely a cloud in the sky and temperatures passing the 20°C mark, so our afternoons were spent out in the garden having a good old catch up while Dad planted this year's selection of flowers, tomatoes and chillies, and on Tuesday evening we headed to the pub for a lovely dinner and a spot of wine.

:: A quick stopover at Mum's house on Wednesday saw us cosied up with pistachio macaroons (yum) and the most recent episode of Made In Cheslea, catching up on all that's been happening in our lives recently. The following morning we also popped out for coffee and took a trip to Tesco to find out more about upgrading our phones, and after a couple of hours we both ended up walking away with shiny new devices (hurrah!).

:: Last Friday we had a belated celebration for Nick's birthday, which I had been planning for the past month or so. We started the day by going for brunch at the gorgeous Blackbird Tea Rooms where breakfast is half price on weekdays before 11am, so it came to only £10 for both breakfasts, a pot of green tea for Nick and a cup of coffee for me. (Now we have no excuse not to go for brunch more often!) To walk off our breakfast we went for a wander round town, stopping by a couple of shops for a lazy browse, before stopping at Cafe Coho for coffee (Nick opted for a cappuccino while I went for a chai latte). After a little more walking we went to Carluccio's for an early dinner, before wandering over to Ten Green Bottles for Nick's present; wine tasting! We had a private tasting and tried six different wines, all of which were delicious, and we were provided with a few nibbles to keep us going throughout. Once the tasting was done, we stayed for one more drink, then headed home to relax for the rest of the evening.


:: My new phone! After having a Galaxy Ace for the past 18 months, I was more than ready for something new; the phone itself had become quite slow and had so little internal memory left I couldn't even update my apps, let alone install new ones (although, in fairness, most apps weren't compatible with the phone anyway!). So, after an evening of tariff comparing and deliberation, I decided to invest a little more and go for the iPhone 6, and I absolutely love it! The big screen is perfect for looking at pictures, it's so much faster than my old phone, and I can finally install apps like VSCO Cam and Afterlight.

:: Speaking of apps, one particular app I've been loving is RunKeeper. I had RunKeeper a couple of years ago but never got any use out of it since I could never get a strong enough GPS signal to track my runs, but during my app downloading spree last week I decided to try it again, and so far I'm loving it! Next week a friend and I are signing up for the Colour Run in October, so I've already started training in the hopes that by then, 5K will be an absolute breeze. The app not only tracks your runs (distance, pace, elevation, calorie burn, heart rate), but also has built-in training programs. Most programs are only available to those with premium accounts, but the 5K plan, which I'm starting next week, is available to all.

:: The planner I picked up from WHSmith on Friday. Earlier this week I finally filled up the notebook I'd been using to scribble down shopping lists, plan my ins and outs and write many a to-do list for the past year or so, so the time came to pick up a new one. I went for this black number; I adore the soft cover, the spiral spine makes it easy to flip between pages, and it's plenty big enough to see me through for hopefully at least as long as the last one. For me, taking some time out to plan my days, weeks, or even an entire month and write everything down is not only therapeutic, but also really helpful in putting everything into perspective and giving my life a little more structure. Let the listing, calculating and planning commence!

:: Millie Marotta's Animal Kingdom. Mum bought me this book as a little surprise before I went to visit her earlier in the month, and I've hardly put it down since! Recently there has been a surge in the popularity of 'adult colouring books', which seems to have started with The Mindfulness Colouring Book. However, there is now a wide variety of these books available, and I am completely in love with Marotta's offering. She combines flora and fauna in illustrations that are absolutely stunning, ready for you to add colour to as you please. There's something incredibly soothing about taking even just fifteen minutes out of your day to reconnect with your inner child and do some colouring; I can't recommend it enough, especially if you're generally an artistic or creative person.


I've been really out of the blogging loop these past few weeks, but thanks to an intensive catch up session on Friday morning I do have a few favourite posts to share with you!

:: Kate's interior style never fails to bring me joy; with white walls, pastel hues and copper accessories aplenty, her home is pretty much everything I hope mine is some day, and I adored her recent post on the hanging planters she recently introduced into her abode.

:: I really enjoyed Polly's post about the typography books she uses for inspiration and practice. For the past couple of months I've been getting more and more into hand lettering and typography, and am planning on really investing time and energy into it over the next month or so in the hopes of getting my skills up to scratch so I can put a couple of exciting ideas into action. So, Polly's post was a really handy way to discover a few new resources and get some inspiration, and with pay day just around the corner I may well have to order one of these books for myself.

:: Grace's review of the VVB x Nails Inc collaboration only furthered my desire to own the Bamboo White shade; ever since I first saw it on Estée's Instagram at the start of last month, I haven't been able to get that subtle, barely-there pink off my mind. (If anyone knows any good dupes, let me know!)

:: I thought Fiona's response to Protein World's 'Are you beach body ready?' advertisement was utter brilliance. Fiona, like myself any undoubtedly many other women (and men, no doubt), is tired of constantly being bombarded with these sorts of ads and messages; 'Get your bikini body''Your Summer workout plan' etc etc. Where are the messages telling us that we already have bikini bodies? That our bodies are already beach ready? Well, Fiona and Catsello recently sent that message out to Charing Cross Station, and I applaud them for it. What they did took a lot of guts, and judging by the response they received, not only was it was well worth it, but they are far from alone in their feelings, and if enough of us could posses the courage these girls do, not even to the point of this sort of demonstration, just to the point of speaking out openly, confidently, and with conviction, we could bring about some serious, positive changes.

:: Haley's recipe for Nutty Chai-Spiced Banana Bread caught my eye this week. I used to be quite the avid baker (back when I was at school and didn't have responsibilities like work and housework and cooking filling my free time!), and it's been far too long since I last picked up a mixing bowl and wooden spoon, so I'm determined that within the next few months I will bake something, and this banana bread might just be the end result of that - it combines some of my favourite things (bananas, nuts and chai spice)and it's vegan. Perfect!

Although quite brief, I feel like this post has got us a little more up to date in all that's happened since I last updated, and I'll be back during the week with a new post - it's going to be on something that's quite personal, but also something I feel a lot of you will be able to relate to, so I hope you come back to have a read.

I hope you've been well these past few weeks, and I'm really looking forward to getting back into the swing of things and restoring Namaste, Rowan to its former glory!



Weekly roundup #4

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Once again Sunday has rolled around, and it's time to bring together all the best bits of the week. How has your week been? I feel like the week has flown by, but at the same time last Sunday feels like it was weeks ago. I hope you've had a lovely Easter weekend so far, and if you're lucky enough to have the day off tomorrow, too, enjoy it!


:: Having one of those glorious relaxed yet productive days on Monday, which involved sleeping in, spending an hour or so relaxing in bed, then getting up and giving the kitchen a good clean while the washing (or laundry, if you prefer) was in the machine, and then, having completed my to-do list, settling down with some scrambled egg and avocado on toast and a cup of tea to watch a few episodes of Game of Thrones, completely guilt-free. Pure bliss.

:: Seeing Namaste, Rowan grow. For the past few weeks, I feel like Namaste, Rowan has really been growing. I feel like my content is improving, and I am loving having a bit of a schedule (somehow it makes things feel a little more professional and put together), and it seems like you guys are enjoying it, too, since my page views have been increasing faster than ever before (on Saturday I hit 10,000 views, so a huge thank you to each and every one of you for helping this little blog hit this milestone!), and I've had a lot more interaction on social media which I absolutely love. This space is something I am very passionate about and adore spending time on, and it's lovely to see that the work I put in is starting to pay off more and more.


:: It seems as though there is always at least one foodie item in each Weekly Roundup, but what can I say, I love food! This week I picked up a bar of Seed & Bean's espresso dark chocolate. Their entire range of chocolate is organic and fairly traded, and they do some amazing flavour combinations (Coconut and Raspberry is next on my to-try list!). My mum and I adore M&S's dark chocolate covered coffee beans, and Seed & Bean have almost created them in bar form. With ground roasted coffee beans, not only do you get that incredible rich, toasted espresso flavour, but you also get a little texture and crunch, which just makes it for me. It's safe to say the bar didn't last the week, but hey, that gives me an excuse to try another flavour, right?

:: Sufjan Stevens' new album, Carrie & Lowell. I used to listen to Sufjan Stevens back when I was at Sixth Form, and after Siobhan mentioned him in her most recent 'Listening Post', I decided to go and give his new album a listen. If you've never heard Sufjan's music before, think slow, soft and folks-y; perfect for when you want to slow down or when you're working (Carrie & Lowell served as my soundtrack whilst putting this post together, and it made the experience all the more relaxing).

:: My new 'Good Morning!' mug from Keith Byrmer Jones. We sell Brymer Jones mugs in the shop I work at, and this one is my personal favourite. My mornings aren't complete without some form of hot drink, so I thought this would be a really cute way to brighten them just that little bit more. Plus, you can never have too many mugs, right?

:: Lush's Full of Grace serum bar. A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I was on the hunt for a new moisturiser and was sampling a few from Neal's Yard, but unfortunately none of them were quite right, so after doing a little bit of reading on Lush's website, I decided to give Full of Grace ago. Originally designed to be used in the Lush Spa, Full of Grace is a luxurious solid serum full of nourishing butters, calming calamine and rose, and anti-oxidising portobello mushrooms. I wasn't sure how well it would work under makeup since it's more of a serum than a moisturiser, but so far it seems to be perfectly fine, and it's giving my skin the loveliest glow! It also seems to be evening out my skin tone and is doing a wonderful job of bringing down redness. If after a few weeks I'm still loving it as much as I am now, you can expect a review to make its way into your news feed!


:: Rosie's 'weekend breakfast' post had me wishing it was morning again just so I could follow her routine (despite having only recently finished the aforementioned scrambled eggs and avocado on toast). Eggs and avocado is one of those combinations that cannot be beaten in my mind; it's filling, has an oh-so satisfying combination of textures and the taste can easily be tailored to your mood, although more often than not I just opt for simple, classic black pepper. Rosie's post not only had me craving this most perfect of breakfasts, but also had me longing for a long, slow morning with numerous cups of tea, the comfiest clothes and Sunday Brunch on in the background.

:: This week Jen shared her favourite ways to spend her mid-morning breaks on A Little Opulent, and I really enjoyed reading about them. Is anyone else sensing a slow-morning theme in this roundup? Perhaps it's because this past week I've been busier than I have been for a while, and as a result have started to appreciate these quiet moments so much more. I really do think they're important for our motivation and productivity levels, and also for allowing our minds and bodies to slow down and rest a little when so much of the time we're rushing around trying to get everything done. How do you like to spend your quiet morning time?

:: I really enjoyed Zoe's most recent post this morning. I loved Zoe's outfit, a gorgeous mix of a Spring-y, feminine piece and more casual, autumnal accessories, and her photos of Portmeirion had me wishing I was there myself; close to the sea, colourful buildings, cobbled streets and an artsy, almost folk-sy festival in September? What more could I ask for?

:: Angela's photos of the banoffee pie she made using a recipe from the My New Roots cookbook  gave me a real sweet-craving; how good does it look?! I have't baked or made a dessert for quite some time now but the bug has definitely bitten, and I'm not sure how much longer I'll be able to ignore it. Rest assured that when the day comes, it will be documented here!

I hope you've had a lovely week and have had plenty of chocolate this weekend; I know I have!



Note: You may have noticed that there was no 'Thoughts for the Weekend' this week, and I'm terribly sorry for that. I'm finding it a little tricky to think of a truly interesting topic each week and the perfectionist in me won't let me upload something I'm not totally happy with (which I'm sure you will appreciate and understand), so I'm going to make 'Thoughts for the Weekend' a fortnightly thing. Aside from making the series better, it also means that on the alternate weeks I will be able to post something different and keep Namaste, Rowan more varied. I hope you understand, and I hope you enjoy having more of a mix of posts again!